I have four fabulous sons. I have a mostly fabulous husband. And at some points in my life I too might have been considered fabulous.
Recently I felt fabulous – momentarily – as one of my sons told me of a conversation with a friend of his. “Your mom is intimidating. She is an impressive writer.” He quickly reassured her, “Oh, she is not nearly so impressive unedited!”
According to Christmas letters and Facebook pages most all of my friends are fabulous. Continue reading →
Four times I heard the doctor say “It’s a boy!” When Owen – the last – was born Andrew suggested that we trade him in for a girl. He thought we already had enough boys.
I love having all boys, although at times I have wondered if they were at a disadvantage not having a sister. I worried that girls would be these puzzling and mysterious creatures. Our choice of an all boys’ school for them added to my concern.
As with most things, I should not have worried. Girls arepuzzling and mysterious creatures, but that doesn’t seem to bother my boys in the least. Thanks to church youth groups and two near-by girls’ schools, the boys have had plenty of interactions with girls.
In fact, it might be a good thing if girls were a bit more puzzling to my youngest. After his first 7th grade social at a girls’ school, Owen came home saying “Mom, George and I were the bridge.” He explained, “All the guys were afraid to talk to the girls. George (another gregarious 4th child) and I would just go over to a group of girls Continue reading →
A stunning new dining hall at my sons’ school features this quote from Shakespeare engraved in stone high on the front wall: “Strive Mightily, but Eat and Drink as Friends.” It is an appropriate quote for a school where the competition and camaraderie are strong threads knitting together a community that spans generations.
But sadly, all too often parents and children “strive mightily” at the family dinner table, instead of “eating and drinking as friends.” Misguided efforts at control disrupt precious family fellowship.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
I am not one to just take the easy way out. In fact, sometimes I think I approached parenting with the motto “There must be a harder way!“ as if the hardest way was always the best way. No pain meds during labor, four sons in 5.5 years, cloth diapers, homeschooling – I did what I thought best for my children, even if it was hard. Hard is not bad, just hard.
But in some areas, it seems that my husband and I took paths that were much easier than those chosen by many of our friends. And we didn’t do it because it was easy, but because we thought it best.
Owen was 8. His brother’s friend was 14. We were all in the car driving to the lake for the weekend. The friend called his mom. “Did you remember to pack my contact lens solution?” “You didn’t! Mom, you always forget that!”
I looked at Owen in the rearview mirror. He was staring at the friend with a look of serious concern. Once the friend was off the phone he asked, incredulously, “Did your mom pack your suitcase?”
“Not very well!” the friend replied. Owen began to giggle. “My mom has never packed my suitcase!” Although this was not completely true, Owen had never known a day that he did not pack his own suitcase.
The youngest of 4 boys, Owen has always thought he was as old and as capable as his brothers. Early on, I would give the older boys written lists of items to pack for trips. Owen could not yet read, but asked me to draw pictures of what he needed. Pretty soon he could not be bothered with the list and just made his own packing selections. Admittedly, he has a preference for packing light. Once for a week at the lake house he packed a toothbrush, two swimsuits, a white t-shirt, and his church clothes. He managed just fine.
Football Moms Rock. I should know, as I have been a football mom for 4 sons over the course of 11 seasons. One year, at my peak, I attended 48 football games.
My younger sons started playing in early elementary school. Walking into those games, dressed in football pants and t-shirts, the boys labored to carry the bulky shoulder pads and helmet. Once, I offered to help John carry his pads. I got what I can only describe as a look of disdain coming from that little tan face. Disdain, not directed at me, but at the idea that a football player wouldn’t carry his own gear. Somehow he knew that was just not right.
Unfortunately, the idea that mom would be the one to wash the football pants and wrestle to replace the knee pads was not similarly offensive.
Through the years, my boys learned a lot about being men from football. I learned a lot about being a mom to boys. Continue reading →
The world of my childhood was experienced with two bare feet. Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1960’s no children wore shoes in the summertime except perhaps the sons and daughters of the newly imported – families who moved to Montgomery from other environs, where apparently shoes were a sign of civilization. Not here. Not among the poor and not even among the rich, or at least those deemed rich by the standard of the sleepy town along the banks of the Alabama River.
Shoes were not required for school, prompting uninitiated newcomers regularly to visit the school principal offering to buy shoes for the poor barefoot children streaming into the school each day, the children of the local doctors, lawyers and business leaders – the classmates of their children. The esteemed local pediatrician, wise beyond his time, assured parents that barefoot was best. He had his medical reasons – but I just thought he loved us.
A whole world of sensation is lost on those who go through life wearing shoes. Continue reading →